Timeline: August Wilson
1945: Born Fredrick August Kittel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father was a red-haired German immigrant, Fredrik Kittel; his mother, an African-American woman from North Carolina, Daisy Wilson.
1959: Endures abuse as the only African-American student at a local Catholic school.
1960: Drops out of high school.
1962: Serves a year in the Army, and then works at a variety of jobs, with no clear career path emerging.
1965: Changes his name to August Wilson shortly after the death of his father.
1968: Establishes Black Horizons Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota.
1978: Gets work writing for a science museum.
1982: Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is workshopped at National Playwrights Conference; connects with NPC head Lloyd Richards, who will direct many of his later productions.
1984: Ma Rainey hits Broadway; it later wins a New York Drama Critics Circle award.
1987: Wilson's Fences is a Broadway smash; it wins the Pulitzer Prize and sets a then-box-office record for a non-musical, grossing $11 million.
1988: Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone hits Broadway.
1990: Wilson's The Piano Lesson hits Broadway; it wins Wilson his second Pulitzer Prize.
1992: Wilson's Two Trains Running hits Broadway.
1996: Wilson's Seven Guitars hits Broadway.
1997: Engages in prominent debate with American Repertory Theatre director Robert Brustein on race and theatrical casting.
1999: Wilson's King Hedley II opens on Broadway.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to African-American History © 2003 by Melba J. Duncan. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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